-May 18th, 2009-

Petra 'Ice Queen' Abels

"Abels, you wanna hear a joke about pizza?"

"Yovan, stop, you're making me hungry."

"You're right, it was too cheesy anyways." Despite my foul mood, I couldn't hold back the snicker that escaped my lips.

"Oh? What was that? Did I hear the Ice Queen laugh?"

"No," I said quickly, steeling my voice back to it's original hardness. I had a reputation to uphold, no matter how contradictory it was. At least, to me it was contradictory. To everyone around me, the call sign 'Ice-Queen' was a more accurate description than 'human female'. Remus Yovan was probably the only person at this command who knew the real me, making the farce we were playing all the more difficult.

"Hum, that is strange. I could've sworn there was a sound strangely similar to a snort."

"Second Lieutenant Yovan, are you trying to flirt with the Ice Queen?" our flight controller finally asked. The bluntness of the question caused both our planes to momentarily wobble for a moment. "I don't care what you do while off duty, but right now, you're working for the Royal Nordlandic Air Force. Try and focus a little, yeah?"

"Besides," another operator began, deciding to partake in the momentary break of the usual monotony that Air Patrols usually entailed by adding his two cents. "Everyone knows Second Lieutenant Abels didn't get a call sign like Ice Queen for no reason."

"If we're handing out call-signs biased off of how people handle requests of courtship around here," I drawled, silencing the channel for a moment. "Then a significant proportion of the male population would be 'Disturbingly Desperate.'" There was a long pause of silence before our controller decided a change in topics was in order.

"Right then. Patrol RNAF-821, you're time on station is coming to it's conclusion. Patrol RNAF-822 will be by in five to relieve you."

"RNAF-821 copies," Remus responded. The comms were silent for another couple of moments before my wing mate tried speaking again, this time having the wisdom to use a private channel. "Everything alright, Petra? You seem especially… sharp today." Remus was always watchful with what words he used around me. He knew that I had a sore spot when it came to the nickname and subsequent call-sign I had earned here.

"They denied my transfer. Again." I had been trying for a month now to get transferred to a new base. One where I could hopefully start over. My reputation was too entrenched here to have such dreams. But would a change in location really matter?

I knew there would be obstacles for me as a woman that my father hadn't faced when I decided to enter military service. But this was beginning to become a real problem. Everywhere I went, ridiculous requests that could be passed off as jokes were made and it was starting to get to the point where I wanted to report something. But doing that… that carried labels all on its own as well.

So far, only Remus had treated me as nothing more than a fellow pilot. Sure, there were times like just a few moments ago where his friendliness could be seen as flirting to someone who didn't know better, but between the two of us, it was nothing more than light teasing, a welcome break compared to the heavy innuendos used by some of my other male 'comrades.' The only thing that had worked at cutting the disturbing comments down was my cold public appearance. However, that didn't stop conversations from happening behind my back.

"Hang in there," Remus said," pulling me back from my thoughts. "I've been doing some digging around since the last time you requested. I had a feeling this might happen again so I took some initiative."

"Oh? Look at you being all proactive," I teased.

"Hey, even I can be serious when I try," my wing mate replied. "Anyways, turns out there's a special form you can fill out after three rejected transfers. There's a bunch of limitations on it and stuff, but I'm pretty sure you fit the bill."

"What is it? Where can I find it?" I asked anxiously.

"It's hidden in some thick book called ROYNORAFADMANINST 8100.2."

"What does that even stand for?" I asked, nearly laughing despite my anxiousness continuing to build. I still find it funny at how convoluted the military can be with all it's paperwork.

"Um, Royal Nordlandic Air Force Administrative Manual Instruction. I think. But what matters is that there's a form in there that's better known as the 'Dream Maker.' It can only be used once in your career and only after three consecutive transfer rejections, and blada-blada-bla, but it basically allows a member to submit a transfer request that can't be denied." I was silent for a moment, almost disbelieving the pure… convenience of such a document.

"You'd better not be pulling my leg," I threatened.

"On something like this, I wouldn't," Remus replied, his usual teasing tone gone. I was about to sing my praises to the man before a transmission came over the general use frequency.

"RNAF-821, this is 822. We are on station and ready to assume duties."

"Thanks 822," Remus responded. "Try not to fall asleep."

"Roger that," the flight replied as we began to head back towards the airfield. I was still silent as my mind tried to process the strange hopeful feeling in my chest.

"Huh, that's weird," Remus suddenly said. "Tower, I'm getting a friendly radar spike, what's going on?

"Hold one," the tower replied curtly. In the transmission, I heard multiple muttering voices in the background, putting me on edge. "Shit! Flight 821, take evasive maneuvers! We've got a malfunctioning SAM!"

"A what!?" Remus exclaimed before a warning tone began to blare over the speakers in my cockpit. Judging by the sharp move left my wing mate suddenly made, he too got the warning. My searching eyes quickly spotted two trails of white smoke streaking towards us.

"Yovan! Evade! Incoming missiles, twelve and low!" I shouted out, sharply pulling up and applying full thrust. My fuel state wasn't great after a full length patrol, but I needed every pound of thrust the Gripen I was in could produce. I jinked and looped in desperation as the missile tone continued to blare, drowning out any other sounds and thoughts. I didn't pull back on the thrust or let up on the stick until the annoying tone went away. And then there was silence. A deathly silence.

"Yovan?" I called out, not spotting my wing mate in the airspace around me. "Yovan, where are you at? What's your status?"

"Abels…" my flight controller began, his voice too somber and heavy for my liking. In that moment, I knew, but didn't want to accept. I continued to search the airspace around me desperately but didn't find another Gripen, only a thick black smoke trail leading to a burning pile.

-Olson 'Knack' Holmes-

"HQ, this is operative Knack. Virus was a success."

"The program worked?"

"Yeah, the SAM went into fully autonomous mode and ignored IFF. Controls were locked out for a solid ten minutes. Circuits toasted themselves too."

"This is even better than expected. I'll let them know that this batch is a keeper. Your cover still in tact?"

"Of course."

"Good, good. We'll be transferring you to Osea soon. Probably Crevalle. We need someone who'll be able to upload this gem into their SAM network over there when the time comes."

"Will it be soon?"

"Not soon enough if you ask me. Replicator is saying the time is coming though."

"He's always saying that."

"Give the man some slack. He's been over there a while having to deal with that filth directly. He wants this to happen more than most of us can even comprehend."

"Whatever. I'll lay low and be waiting for the transfer request."

"Copy. For our future."

"For our future."

AN: Hello. How's it been? Excuse me while I brush these cobwebs off my computer. So, it's been a while, huh? I've been busy with life and military stuff, but for right now, and I literally mean these next couple of hours, I've got some free time. Decided to restart my writing with another addition to this lovely little thing. My other stories might be a little slow at updates as well, so try to not hate me for that to much. Anyways, tell me what you think. I know something like this may be a little heavy for me to return with but it was requested by ilMaestroAmadio, so... Anyways, hope you guys have an Awesome day, week or month. Take your pick, you can't have them all. Until next time, stay Awesome people!